The Rivals

4.4
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988 reviews
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£25 and under
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Gastro Pub

Top tags:

Pre/post Theatre
Casual
Situated within the visually stunning Royal Exchange Theatre, The Rivals is the perfect venue for a business lunch, a break from shopping or a pre-theatre dinner. With views out over St Ann"s Square and into the theatre's Great Hall The Rivals offers a superb pre-theatre dinner menu with friendly attentive service. The bar/restaurant is also open during theatre performances for non theatre going customers. Real ale, craft beer, fine wines and excellent food are all on offer
What 988 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
Food
4.5
Service
4.3
Ambience
4.2
Value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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KW
KayW
London
2 reviews
Dined on 14 March 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Hidden gem. What a lovely restaurant. First time diners, four of us. There was a show on at the Theatre. Restaurant was quiet as a consequence. Didn’t spoil our experience. Very nice menu. Reasonable prices for city centre restaurant. Lovely, friendly staff. Look forward to going again.

OT
OpenTable Diner
London
1 review
Dined on 6 March 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Lovely staff Very accommodating when running late with a theatre production to see. Food excellent Nothing to complain about at all.

B
Belle74
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 6 March 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Gorgeous food, lovely staff and good decor/ambience. Had a fab pre theatre meal.

S
Subalew
Manchester
19 reviews
Dined on 2 March 2020
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience4

Good place for a pre-theatre meal. Excellent choice of food and wines

D
samanthaD
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 28 February 2020
Overall2Food2Service2Ambience5

I always love dining at The Rivals before the theatre but on this occasion the food was quite mediocre - both of our mains were luke warm and the chips arrived after my partner had finished his main and I'd almost finished mine. We didn't complain because we were on a time limit as the play was about to start. Also, there's so much on the menu these days that isn't included in the set menu cost that it feels a bit odd that it's a set menu.

R
Rach
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 28 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

It was lovely to enjoy a great meal before the show, the staff kept the table for us and we had desert at the interval which was lovely.

D
Davetherave
Warwickshire
4 reviews
Dined on 26 February 2020
Overall4Food5Service3Ambience3

Food still excellent. Slow and inconsistent service. Quite expensive and supplements for certain dishes excessive.

FG
FrancescaG
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 24 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Great for pre-theatre dinner. Very nice choices for a set menu and reasonably priced for the quality of the food. Prompt service, but do tell them you have a theatre booking and they will hurry your order along if need be. You can also order desserts to have during the interval.

Good for groups as has plenty of big tables. Also, interesting wine list and something for all preferences. Usually go for the Paco and Lola Albariño as it's a wine lots of people like, and goes well with a lot of the dishes on the menu.

Have been here more than once and always had efficient service and a tasty meal in lovely surroundings.

s
stephens
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

good food, service efficient, pleasant atmosphere.

Would certainly go again

CR
ClaireR
Yorkshire
1 review
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Lovely service . Nice food . A little expensive but a nice treat

AJ
AliJC
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The staff were very accommodating, giving us a well lit table as requested (we are lipreaders). The service was second to none. The food was very well presented and everything we had was very tasty. The value of the 2 courses we had was good, the same would be said of the 3 course menu also offered.
I have dined here several times with different friends and will be back! Thank you.

K
Katkins
London
1 review
Dined on 21 February 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience5

Excellent food, very friendly staff, even though it was a pre theatre meal, we did not feel rushed

OT
OpenTable Diner
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 21 February 2020
Overall4Food2Service5Ambience5

We had a lovely evening attending the theatre, however the food we ordered we felt was to ‘heavy’ with cheese, I was unable to eat mine. But will visit again and try the main menu. Service and restaurant excellent.

JH
JoanneH
1 review
Dined on 21 February 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

Been a few times, service is swift and friendly. Food is good - a bit expensive particularly when combined with the cost of a show.

D
Debbi
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 20 February 2020
Overall3Food3Service3Ambience4

Good Vegan option though could have done with smaller portion and something else with it.

g
grb9uk
Manchester
7 reviews
Dined on 17 February 2020
Overall4Food3Service4Ambience4

Normally excellent innovative cooking, however, this time the lamb loin with a suet pudding didn't work. The herb encrusted cod and sea trout starter were excellent

N
Nlg20
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Lovely meal and ambience would really recommend especially if going to theatre. Quality of food very good , service very good . I will be going again!

G
Garyw
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

It is always a good way to wind down eat great food in a quiet warm environment.

B
Bazzer
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

An excellent meal with excellent and prompt service.
Menu was so inviting and we were not disappointed with the selections we made.

P
Pout
1 review
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall3Food4Service3Ambience3

We were a group of 11 so service not easy. As it happened some had finished eating by the time others were served. Everybody was happy with their food though - some felt the portions were small. Staff didn’t ‘get the message’ that we were rushing pre afternoon theatre.

e
evey
London
3 reviews
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall4Food3Service5Ambience4

hello - I would recommend the rivals to a friend - but only just
the food was not wonderful although the prices suggested it should be

MH
MarHo
Oxford
3 reviews
Dined on 11 February 2020
Overall4Food4Service3Ambience3

Lovely food and very varied combinations have been here quite a few times. It’s a nice place to have a meal and chat

OT
OpenTable Diner
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

We regularly book The Rivals alongside a visit to the theatre and have always had a superb experience. It is a real treat for the senses

t
theikclaret
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Lovely meal but our gin and tonics were spoiled by only having one make of tonic available which was horrible and killed the Tanqueray gin. Any chance of stocking an alternative like Sweppes?

A
Asteriskflower
1 review
Dined on 1 February 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Lovely pre theatre meal with my mum, very pleasant seating position next to the window overlooking St Anns square. Quirky stylish interior of recycled doors. Wonderful, prompt friendly service, great food, can recommend the portobello squash wellington and the gingerbread with stout ice cream. Was relaxed and unrushed. Very convenient for the theatre. Would go again.

AA
AnthonyA
London
1 review
Dined on 31 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Exceeded my expectations both in terms of quality of the food and service. I decided to eat here at the last minute before doing a wine tasting at the Royal Exchange. I was seated immediately and provided with the menu and wine list. The service was attentive without being rushed. The starter I had was Haddock fishcakes with salsa verde which was excellent and matched very well with the Chenin Blanc recommended. The main course was butternut squash and mushroom wellington, with roast potatos and garlic gravy which was delicious. Finished off with a Cardamom brulee which was also very nice and not too large at the end of the meal.
Overall I felt the meal was great value at 3 courses for under £30.

CJ
CarolynJ
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 30 January 2020
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience4

Lunch menu offer is expensive especially as about half of the items incur an extra charge and there is lots of competition in Manchester to a similar standard.

LS
LynneS
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience4

The food was lovely, and our waitress from N. Ireland was extremely efficient and friendly. The only criticism was that the area where we were sat was cold. A lot of draft by window and exterior wall.

AT
AnnenTony
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 24 January 2020
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience4

The bill was expensive for the quality of the food. My fish cakes were nice but nothing special, my husband’s mackerel escoche was disappointingly ordinary. The main course duck was very good with a delicious sauce but the sweet potato wellington was quite dry and heavy on the pastry. Overall, a disappointing experience.

JM
JonathanM
1 review
Dined on 24 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The entire ambience was superb. The waitresses were extremely attentive and ensured that we had supper and that we took our seats on time. Pudding was in the interval. Excellent.

SC
SandraC
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 24 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Delicious food for a pre-theatre meal, served quickly but by friendly staff

RG
RichardG
London
1 review
Dined on 23 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

excellent food at good prices. we will visit again

JB
JanB
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 23 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The food was lovely. Service very good indeed. Great staff. I like the decor too. Really enjoyed and we will return!

PB
PhilB
London
3 reviews
Dined on 23 January 2020
Overall3Food4Service3Ambience4

The food and ambience were very good but for a theatre restaurant who are I assume used to pre theatre dining, the Timings were rather off.

As it got closer to curtain time (it was a matinee) we had to chase for the main courses to be delivered and still there was something of a wait for the starters to be cleared and for those to be delivered. The desert ordering for the interval was appreciated but a tad last minute.

It just felt like they weren’t coping brilliantly with a pretty full restaurant which shouldn’t be unusual. As I say, the food and ambience were very good.

MS
MichaelS
1 review
Dined on 18 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Good food very convenient for the Exchange Theater, nice place to eat

FH
FrancesH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 18 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Been here a few times now. The menu is always different and interesting. The food is delicious- excellent vegetarian choices. The service couldn’t be better.

EF
EmmaF
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 17 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The food was excellent, it was a lovely end to a great evening!

LF
LouiseF
London
1 review
Dined on 16 January 2020
Overall4Food5Service5Ambience4

Great pre theatre choice. Good food, good value. Excellent service. Will definitely return

l
lizerd
London
4 reviews
Dined on 16 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Lovely menu, changes regularly. Alway a fish veggie and vegan options. Pleasant staff who accommodate need to get to performance but dont hurry you if you are dining post performance. I particularly like the option to have coffee a d dessert at the interval during an evening performance.

CW
ChristopherW
London
1 review
Dined on 15 January 2020
Overall3Food1Service4Ambience4

One of the starters had to be sent back because it was inedible. It was exchanged without charge. Rosemary potato had clearly been cooked long before and there was not a hint of rosemary to savour. Poor value for money. Two days later we had a cheaper pre theatre meal at the RSC Stratford and quality was far better.

FAQs

The Rivals is rated 4.4 stars by 988 OpenTable diners.

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